GCF Chosen for Gates Funded Initiative

As we entered 2020, racial equity and justice were far from daily topics in the national newsfeed. Today they’re front and center worldwide.

Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has focused on racial equity for decades. In recent years, we’ve focused more deeply. Our continuing commitment and work have brought national attention.

GCF was recently selected to participate in a two-year program to advance local progress in economic mobility, especially for people of color. Through the Gates funded Economic Mobility Action Network, GCF will join the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Foundation for Louisiana, The Chicago Community Trust, The San Francisco Foundation and Southwest Initiative Foundation of Minnesota to explore key practices in economic mobility, build leadership capacity and identify and implement solutions. The program will be managed and led by CFLeads, a national organization dedicated to advancing the leadership practices of community foundations.
“We are excited to be a part of this cohort,” said GCF President and CEO Ellen M. Katz. “I know that, like us, the other foundations are very focused on racial equity – and that will be a really important connective element to our work.”

GCF is familiar with CFLeads’ cohort process, having recently completed their second Equity Network cohort with a different group of community foundations.

This cohort team will include Katz; Chief Operating Officer Dora Anim; Senior Director, Community Strategies Rickell Howard Smith; Director, Special Initiatives Robert Killins, Jr.; Governing Board Member Ann M. Schwister; and Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio President and CEO Eddie Koen.

“GCF’s focus on African-American women as our target population leverage point is bold and unique,” explained Katz. “Improving their circumstances, including the relationships and circumstances that surround them, produces a ripple effect that benefits everyone.

“We selected Eddie Koen as a community partner in this effort, as Urban League’s mission is focused on building the black middle class, and we want to strengthen their work as well.”

The network’s economic mobility focus also aligns with the work of the Women’s Fund of GCF, Katz noted. Their focus on ensuring women’s economic self-sufficiency will help to inform the actions we effect through this opportunity.

“The timing of this is critical,” she said. “We are all connected, and the economic opportunities of the black and brown people in our community must be the driving force in how we reimagine and build our future as a community.”